Forbes Site, After Begging You To Turn Off Adblocker, Serves Up A Steaming Pile Of Malware 'Ads'

from the you-have-32-registry-errors dept

We had just discussed a couple of websites, Forbes amongst them, joining the ranks of sites that were attempting to hold their content hostage over people’s use of adblockers. The general point of that post was that the reason people use adblockers generally is that sites like Forbes serve up annoying, irritating, horrible ads, such that the question of whether the site’s content is worth the hassle of enduring those ads becomes a legitimate one. The moment that question becomes relevant, it should be obvious that the problem is the ad inventory and not the adblocking software.

But of course that isn’t the only reason that people use adblockers. The other chief impetus for them is security. Here to show us why that is so is…well…Forbes again. One security researcher discusses his attempt to read a Forbes article, complete with the request to disable his adblocking software, and the resulting malware he encountered as a result. Ironically, the Forbes article in question was its notable “30 Under 30” list, and the researcher wanted to check out the inclusion of a rather well-known security researcher.

On arrival, like a growing number of websites, Forbes asked readers to turn off ad blockers in order to view the article. After doing so, visitors were immediately served with pop-under malware, primed to infect their computers, and likely silently steal passwords, personal data and banking information. Or, as is popular worldwide with these malware “exploit kits,” lock up their hard drives in exchange for Bitcoin ransom.

One researcher commented on Twitter that the situation was “ironic” — and while it’s certainly another variant of hackenfreude, ironic isn’t exactly the word I’d use to describe what happened.

Vindicating might be a better word, I think. Vindication for those who insist that adblockers are not only beneficial, but may well be necessary. Necessary because, as we stated before, too much online advertising is garbage, whether that means the ads just suck, or are downright security threats. Ad networks have been a known vector for this type of malware, which can attempt to infect machines with fake antivirus software or compromise personal information from the infected machines. It’s important to understand that this is neither new nor is it some small thing.

Less than a month ago, a bogus banner ad was found serving malvertising to visitors of video site DailyMotion. After discovering it, security company Malwarebytes contacted the online ad platform the bad ad was coming through, Atomx. The company blamed a “rogue” advertiser on the WWPromoter network. It was estimated the adware broadcast through DailyMotion put 128 million people at risk. To be specific, it was from the notorious malware family called “Angler Exploit Kit.” Remember this name, because I’m pretty sure we’re going to be getting to know it a whole lot better in 2016.

Last August, Angler struck MSN.com with — you guessed it — another drive-by malvertising campaign. It was the same campaign that had infected Yahoo visitors back in July (an estimated 6.9 billion visits per month, it’s considered the biggest malvertising attack so far). October saw Angler targeting Daily Mail visitors through poisoned ads as well (monthly ad impressions 64.4 million). Only last month, Angler’s malicious ads hit visitors to Reader’s Digest (210K readers; ad impressions 1.7M). That attack sat unattended after being in the press, and was fixed only after a week of public outcry.

Insisting that users turn off their adblockers in this ecosystem is akin to refusing to allow people to tour the wing of a hospital dedicated to combatting highly infectious disease if they want to wear a bio-hazard suit. It makes no sense. “We can’t confirm that our ads are safe, but we insist you not block them.” Who actually wants to suggest that this stance makes sense?

What should the websites do? The ad networks clearly don’t have a handle on this at all, giving us one more reason to use ad blockers. They’re practically the most popular malware delivery systems on Earth, and they’re making the websites they do business with into the same poisonous monster. I don’t even want to think about what it all means for the security practices of the ad companies handling our tracking data or the sites we visit hosting these pathogens.

What should websites do? Well, how about they start treating their ad inventory with at least a percentage of the care with which they treat their content? After all, advertising is content, as it is consumed by the reader/viewer, so why not at least bother to make sure it’s palatable? Or maybe start putting in place stricter controls to weed out the malvertising and adware? That too could be helpful.

Guess what’s not anywhere on the list of things websites should do, though. If you answered “Insist that customers open themselves up to these security threats by demanding they turn off adblockers,” then you win.

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Companies: forbes

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Comments on “Forbes Site, After Begging You To Turn Off Adblocker, Serves Up A Steaming Pile Of Malware 'Ads'”

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126 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

If only...

What should websites do? Well, how about they start treating their ad inventory with at least a percentage of the care with which they treat their content?

Someone must not be reading what’s getting published online lately. The grammar and spelling is downright awful. And if it’s a news story you can tell the editor is not proofing the story either. It’s almost as if they are in a race to publish as much coff-content-coff online as possible. If they won’t proof what they publish do you think they even think about the ad source?

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

A very clear message is being sent

Our revenue is more important than your safety.

They throw their hands up, not our fault its the ad network.
They ad network throw up their hands, it was a rouge how could we know.

Perhaps maybe if contracts were negotiated with clauses allowing sites to dump networks who served up malware, the networks might try a bit harder to police the content.

Perhaps if sites couldn’t claim they had no responsibility & there was a financial penalty for allowing bad ads to continue after they were alerted.

Imagine a clear system to report bad ads so there didn’t need to be a week of public outcry to get action. Imagine sites being forced to inform viewers they hosted bad ads & direct them to run checks. People not actively blocking ads right now most likely aren’t the most computer savvy people & would need direction to run a scan of their machine.

Everyone says how horrible this is, but nothing changes. Punishing the people most likely to be harmed seems like a stupid play.

The public can only block ads to try and stay safe and then are treated to sites refusing to allow them access unless they stop blocking… when is the last time a site who got screwed running attack ads fired the network serving them up?

No system will ever be perfect, but there is a rapidly shrinking window before ad blocking is much more widespread. Perhaps rather than worrying about how to craft the next supercookie or track where the mouse moves should take a backseat to proactively protecting consumers rather than demanding they remain targets for the “good guys” & the “bad guys” so they can get some click thru revenue.

Sortingfhat says:

Re: A very clear message is being sent

Most of this generation DON’T know how to use computers very well because they grew up on game machines and/or cell phones missing the computer revolution all together.

Windows 8 and 10 is MS attempt to cater to these type of people shunning people who know how to edit and do serious daily work on PC’s.

They want PC’s to be closed game machines.

Charlie Hundley says:

Re: A very clear message is being sent

A great shot across the bow. I take it easy on Anonymous Coward, at least he has an input and evidently wants to read. He may not have had the privilige of the type of education you have had, and i am thankful you have it and you it accordingly. Me? I am so new at using these machines that i have no idea what one person refered to as "twitter, facebook,( i have heard of them but had no interest) have not heard of RSS, Podsomething, and wish i new about Research and Reports. Thank you for what you are doing. These ads are driving me nuts. Along with Googles 32 word rule on filing a compliant. Charlie.

Another Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Actually, it’s easy to read an article that a Web site is trying to block access to. It’s called opening the page source. If the page source uses a frameset, find the src (source) for each frame in the set and open them in turn. If, after checking all of these sources, you still cannot find the article, then don’t waste time; the site isn’t worth reading, anyway.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I have seen some terrible, horrible, awful things by doing that. For instance, there was that time some site served an empty body that had embedded the entire content of the article in a series of meta tags under the head element, which presumably were to be extracted and rendered by some sort of Javascript. Obviously one of the nastier variants on the theme of enforcing visitors to turn on Javascript so they can use it to stuff ads and malware down our throats. That one might have been named bustle.com — I don’t recall for certain.

Stuffing the content that belongs in p or div elements within the body element instead into meta tags in the head element is such horribly broken HTML design that it makes the commonplace a href=”#” onClick=document.load(stupid script to unpack obfuscated URL goes here) and images that are displayed by scripts instead of img tags seem like paragons of correct HTML by comparison.

kevin b says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Always use protection

Farming came after Gathering… So even if we ignore the truly first ‘profession’ (where a good is exchanged for service), then your joke still fails….
Hell, there were almost certainly paid masseuses before there were farmers….
Really… The ignorant arrogance you expressed is beyond contemptible… Just pathetic really.

Anonymous Coward says:

Fuck you. Pay me.

This attitude is going to remain prevalent amongst websites offering up malware until there are penalties at stake for infecting visitors machines, and liabilities for proven damages.

Without an ‘incentive’ that affects their bottom line, they’re not going to care, or feel they have a reason to change.

John (profile) says:

re Forbes add block

I don’t use add blockers – but I cannot see Forbes at all as I block javascript alltogether. I notice that other sites claim that I use add blockers as well, although I do not. I also run privacy badger and Ghostery. I do NOT have flash installed.

I am willing to tolerate adds, but I am totally unwilling to run active content from advertisers. In fact, I do not use Bing et al, as it relies on javascript to function.

Joe K says:

Re: re Forbes add block

possibly mangled in transit. (hopefully not too badly.)

#!/bin/bash

# usage: $0 url_of_forbes_article
# Writes html document (including article content) to standard output.
# Assumes last component of URI is a suitable title.

title=”$(basename “$1″ |tr — – ‘ ‘)”
[ ${#@} -eq 1 ] || { echo “$0: usage: $0 url” ; exit 1 ; }
opening=”<html><head><title>${title}</title></head><body>n”
closing=”</body></html>”

wget -q -O – — “$1” |
grep -o ‘”body”:”([^”]|([”]))*’ |
sed “1 s#^”body”:”#${opening}# ;
s#[]”#”#g ;
s#[]r[]n#\n</p>\n<p>#g ;
$ a
${closing}
; “

# 2nd and 3rd commands in sed routine do, respectively:
# (2) replace backslash-escaped double-quotes with plain double-quotes, and
# (3) replace rn sequences with adequately equivalent html markup.

ECA (profile) says:

Long ago

I did a fresh install on a computer, and connected up with Dial up..First site was MSN..it took 15 minutes for me to gain access to the computer..I knew what had happened, and sent a NICE letter to MSN..1 year later they removed adverts..

I suggested that Sites do 1 of 2 things…
1. MAKE the ADVERTS themselves..
2. Scan every 3rd party advert they will display..

Something Iv asked for from BROWSERS…
Remember that the data Must be sent to you, to be displayed.
Why cant the Browser, NOTE which sites I got this Data from?? It might slow browsers down abit(insted of just Loading Crap, they have to Label it) but you could TRack this garbage back to the sender..

Also…arnt Site liable for the data they are sending?? and if you can PROVE who sent the crap, sue..?

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Long ago

Every advert should be pixels. Nothing more. Not executable code.

Those ad pixels should arrive to the ad network in raw form. Then the ad network themselves will encode it into a more efficient form for internet transmission such as PNG, or other form.

Even animated ads could be received as multiple still images and then encoded into efficient form by the ad network.

Even sounds. They could arrive at the ad network in high resolution form. The ad network encodes them into some internet friendly form.

The fact that the ad network is doing the encoding, using trusted tools, means you are not likely to find malware within the ad content sent to the user’s browser.

The ad network wants pixels. Sequences of frames. Sound that could be encoded through an analog channel which re-digitizes the sounds.

Malvertisers would very go to a different advertising network.

Another Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Long ago

The fact that the ad network is doing the encoding, using trusted tools, means you are not likely to find malware within the ad content sent to the user’s browser.

Rather a bit naive there, aren’t you? What makes you think they’ll use any other than the tools the ad distributors give them?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Long ago

Fuck that. The ad network should ask for one thing from the advertiser: a 460×60 still JPEG file. No animation. No sound. And vetted to eliminate things like deceptive “download” buttons. Vetting script ads is a Turing-complete problem, but not vetting JPEGs. A quick glance from a human and click of “approve”/”disapprove” is all that’s needed to validate a banner image as acceptable or not.

Anonymous Coward says:

Can someone make a law that holds the website liable for the damages caused by rogue advertisements? Maybe then someone would actually do a safety check on the ads they allow on their sites.. After all the advertisements are different then content users post. As it stands right now, the websites don’t care what ad’s make it to their sites, as long as they get paid they happy..

Anonymous Coward says:

The unpopular and unstated thought is ‘you are stealing our income’ by not viewing ads.

Having already run up on this malware trick before, after the painstaking efforts to clean my network of it, I then installed an adblocker and it will now stay on at all times due to a hard learned experience.

It is not up to me to clean up the industry. However I do control my computer and its uses. I will not give up that security because someone else wants to make money. I am not a walking wallet. I further resent the stealing of my internet speed to show these eyesores, the stealing of my data without asking for datamining purposes, and the damn underhandedness of many of the advertisers.

After long experience of dealing with questionable and down right dirty methods, it will be a cold day in hell before I ever turn it off again, even if tomorrow the ad industry claims it’s gotten religion and decides to clean itself up. They’ve earned this response through years of on purpose abuse.

I am still waiting for them to honor ‘Do Not Track’. Since they can’t do any of the things that improve my surfing experience and refuse to do the most basic I really don’t care what they want as my wants are not considered. If my desires are not considered, then what they want ranks the same consideration.

My answer is when I find this out that I have to turn off the adblocker is simply to close the site that wants this as a good bargain worth my time to move on.

Sortingfhat says:

Re: Re:

What will happen if that is how every site becomes? Where you can’t even use the internet unless ad blocker is turned off as the internet is owned by these very corporations just like the news networks.

Very few sites will be left except Joe Doe’s rants that won’t require ad block turned off.

The web is almost a corporation police state far from the 90s open era.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

So it’s ok for you to use up expensive bandwidth to surf all night and day, but when someone throws thousands of dollars at editors, writers, graphic designers, Web designers, programmers and Web hosts it’s not ok for them to make $0.03 – $0.50 cents from an ad you literally have to just leave floating in the sidebar from you?

U.S. written, high quality articles literally cost $30 – $500 each, and you think webmasters are doing you a disservice when they front the bill for your FREE entertainment? Cracked pays $150 for their articles. You like Cracked? Well, that’s the quality ad revenue can buy you. Go to a bar that operates at $0 income (you’ll be in someone’s leaky basement). Watch YouTubers who don’t have ads activated (it’ll be 12 year Olds with a vertical filming iPhone 2). Or go do one of a million other things which requires $ for quality, but do it for free and see the difference. You won’t find quality for free because you get what you pay for; or in this case, you dont even have to pay.

any moose cow word says:

The Blame Game

The sites that run the ads blame the ad networks, yet they don’t run any security verification on the ads that are run nor do they hold the ad network accountable for these security issues. No, the sites continue to look the other way when it comes to security, they only care about getting paid. It’s the same issue with the ad networks, as they allow individual advertisers to run unverified foreign scripts on their network nor do they hold the advertiser accountable for injecting malware either.

None of this will change until sites and networks are held accountable for their complete disregard for the security of their service and their users. Sites should only deal with ads networks that don’t allow foreign code of any kind, and sign contracts that hold the networks liable for security issues created by their ads. However, this will only happen when users and regulators start mandating that sites only use secure ad networks.

Dr Evil says:

Dear forbes...

I turned ad block off at your behest – and noted, as the malware hit, that there was no EULA or equivalent, sooooo
my guess is that you are now liable for my damages.

funny story..
different computer running different OS, rhymes with SLINUX, no adblocker on, but the site STILL thinks ad blocker was on. Clicked on ‘continue’ and it thanked me for turning off the adblocker that wasn’t there. WTF Forbes? Can’t afford to get a decent programmer? Hurting so bad that you have to sell malware?

Javier bin Al Baghdadi says:

33 Posts, and unless I'm blind...

…no one attempted to put for the ludicrous argument that “ad blocking is stealing content.” Those who feel entitled to revenue simply because they put out something on the web must have some self-awareness of the preposterous nature of their position.

And, it would be a position that the more enlightened among us (except for me, I will never buy that b.s.) would be less dismissive toward if someone could make a well reasoned case for it in light of the situation that Forbes seemingly finds itself in every few weeks.

I suspect that not only they won’t, but can’t, make such a case against ad-blockers. Ad-blockers are not unethical. Unethical is – serving up a hot dish of malware/PUP/viruses/etc to your users after making demands that those same users turn off security software.

David says:

Adblockers are the new norm.

Even my 12 and 16 year old daughters have installed adblockers on their browser without prompting from me. More of the younger demographic is tech savvy enough to do this, and it will just continue until publishers stop abusing advertising.

Specifically, I’m pointing at the click bait sites commonly found on Facebook with a single captioned graphic per page, surrounded by at least a dozen ads that almost take minutes to render.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Adblockers are the new norm.

It will not matter if advertising stops getting abused, people will just know to install ad blocking without giving it any more thought, even if they announced all ads were now perfectly safe. How many times did someone download WinZip even after .zip files were natively handled in windows?

They created the method of their own destruction by inaction & indifference.

eeyore1954 (profile) says:

Forbes

I send a newsletter to accountants and recently I have received a comment about linking to articles in Forbes because they do not want to turn off their ad blocker software. So a little searching and I found this article. I have a some comments and questions.
1) If someone has good anti virus (anti malware) software won’t this protect them from bad ads?
2) I go to Forbes almost every day and have never had a problem. Although sometimes the articles are slow to load and I suspect this is from ads.
3) In my industry the articles they have are consistently very popular and well written.
4) I don’t consider them holding content for hostage. they put content there for free (unlike Wall Street Journal and a few others that require subscriptions) and expect to earn money ( and pay for the content) through ad revenue.
5) By the same token there is nothing wrong with someone making the decision they would rather not go there than be subjected to ads and possible problems from them.
6) They had a pretty good article on the dispute that is not overly biased. “Inside Forbes: From ‘Original Sin’ To Ad Blockers — And What The Future Holds”

Mat (profile) says:

Re: Forbes

anti-malware/anti-virus is better compared to an anti-botic: what you use -after- you have the bug. Adblock is better compared to a vaccine: You never get it in the first place. Now, some antiviruses will scan your HTTP communication for known bad actors. HTTPS is a different ballgame, unless it’s running a dangerous to your security man in the middle game.

Sortingfhat says:

Reasonable ads

Ads should be kept reasonable and less then half the length of the article/video.

Ads will be more viewed that way not by passer byes but loyal viewers.

Ads without limits will and do take over your computer without your consent and trying to get around the law using fancy loopholes is just cowardly on their end.

It seems being moral is bad and bad is good. Hey just like the bible said would happen in the final hours before the Trib.

We are in the ‘knocking on the door’ stage with the hand on the doorknob starting to twist it.

7u90790 says:

If they want to advertise they should mention it in the story cause thats the only way its getting through.

Ie, Today a bomb exploded on flight xyz killing 231 Americans and 13 pure bred German Shepards. Shepards are known for their uncanny ability to sniff out,consume,and shit out ordinance however as the trainer/owner John Joe Scapegoat didn’t feed them Purina brand Aryan chow the deaths sadly avoidable occured. Do you want the blood of 231 Americans or worse 13 pure breeds on your hands? Use coupon code sinistermarketing and save 10% of your pets food. With savings like this, it will be seen as terrorism not to.

SortingHat says:

The internet is gone

The internet as we knew it in the 90s is gone and web 2.0 is here but not what you wanted.

The web should I say rather then calling it the internet is all commercial and it’s the way globalist want it for a one world economy based on digital money using ones and zeros to control nations.

It’s basically going back to the days of kings and peasants they are trying to revive that lifestyle with no sustaining economy to keep things rolling so they BS their way thru instead.

Having a BS economy never works well and entire nations/kingdom fold under disasters that a healthy nation could recover from with just a mild depression or in extreme cases eventually get invaded by outsiders due to not having the resources to defend themselves.

Our economy is a ticking time bomb and they just lengthen the fuse.

Andrew S says:

Forbes has even screwed their paying subscribers.

I’ve subscibed to Forbes magazine, print version uninterrupted for at least 15 Years. Like many folks its easier for me to read online while on the road. In thus latest baffling move, Forbes.com has left no way whatsoever for even its paying print members to access the .com site, unless we acquiesce to their idiotic and dangerous anti ad-blocking stance.
No way to get into the archives, no way to read this month’s, nothing! After this year’s finished, I will no longer renew unless they change their position.

Shane says:

Even if ads were ads and not malware

I wouldnt turn off my adblocker to view your content. I just found out that this even existed after googling something and then trying to click on a forbes link. I found this EXTREMELY INSULTING, and quite frankly this is also very disturbing. If forbes is going to do it, whats going to stop youtube, facebook, or other sites I actually frequent from doing it?

Getting someone who is not computer savy to use adblock is hard enough without me physically being at their computer and installing it for them. Throwing in various scenarios where they are locked out of a major website because of adblock would be a big blow to the war against commercials and ad spam.

I hope to christ that whenever someone sees this wall, they never return to that POS site and their content views takes a noticeable hit.

None Ya says:

If you want to circumvent Forbes.com’s stupid ad block removal attempt, stick some invalid JSON in their “global_ad_params” cookie like so: (BORK!)
document.cookie = ‘global_ad_params={BORK!%22ab%22:{%22value%22:%22off%22%2C%22expiration%22:1456810565900}}; expires=2016-01-31T06:00:00:000Z; domain=.forbes.com; path=/’;
Click the “Continue to Site” button once, and got the following javascript error in the console: (see the second screenshot)
Click the “Continue to Site” button again, and BAM! ad-blocking-blocking-blocked: (see the third screenshot)
NOTE: This has only been tested in Chrome, and sometimes breaking that cookie breaks the site, and you have to fix the cookie to continue browsing, like so:
document.cookie = ‘global_ad_params={%22ab%22:{%22value%22:%22off%22%2C%22expiration%22:1456810565900}}; expires=2016-01-31T06:00:00:000Z; domain=.forbes.com; path=/’;

nefarious says:

Home use Anti [Virus, Spyware and Malware] are reactive not proactive. Meaning: They only work when they KNOW about a type of Virus, Spyware, or Malware. All these consumer products do is look for heuristics that -like or -match a specific database entry. If your protective software does not know about it, you are screwed anyways. With Frankenmalware [google it], good luck finding that code to block and execute. True proactive Virus, Spyware and Malware protection will cost the average user a lot more (thousands more), and really is not cost effective right now. You can stop a lot of the damaging effects of malware/viruses/spyware if you use a BASIC USER account with limited privileges rather then logging in to your home computer with Admin rights for daily computer use, also for Windows users, keep UAC on ffs. Is it annoying hell yes, but at least it lets you know when a process is trying to use elevated rights instead of just executing blindly in the background.

Ian Cooper says:

I use ad blocker, so I don’t see Forbes’ ads, nor do I see Forbes’ content. Oh dear, what a shame, never mind.

The folks at Forbes are cutting their own throats with their decision to restrict their content in this way. I can happily visit other sites and find similar content. I think Forbes needs to realize that they are not the only game in town, and in a competitive marketplace, they need to work to find a larger audience. Keeping content restricted from those who prefer not to see advertising is not the way to do it. If I ever was likely to be in the market for Forbes’ product, all this does is alienate me further, since it sends the message that all they’re selling is ad space. If they continue this exercise in self-strangulation, I give the company ten years before it goes belly-up.

tracker1 (profile) says:

Class Action Lawsuit

I’m not sure why one of these big sites haven’t been hit with a class action lawsuit… the website is responsible for the content it delivers… period. Especially when they force users to disable their ad blockers.

It seems to me, that someone who got an $xxx ransomware, or paid the nerd herd to remove malware from their computers could be the base of a class action lawsuit… That’s what it will take to get this crap to change is to actually hold one of these larger media sites responsible.

DB (profile) says:

Bringing this story back from the dead…

The advertisements aren’t “3rd party content”.

Forbes would certainly like to disclaim all liability for their selected advertising network, but that doesn’t make them a 3rd party. They are a “jointly liable party”.

The advertisements are structured as part of the Forbes website. Forbes is insisting that they be received as part of viewing the stories. Forbes contracting out the sales of advertisement and failing to review the contents doesn’t make them unrelated — it just means that they abdicated their responsibility. An industry standard of abdicating responsibility doesn’t transform the practice into reasonable behavior.

To use a tradition magazine analogy, Forbes sent out a magazine with poisoned ink and child pornography. They don’t get to pass all responsibility onto the chemical company and photographer.

magusat999 (profile) says:

I was appalled when I first tried to enter Forbes website and that arrogant message came up. I just didn’t go back- just went to Huffington Post which has the same news as they do anyway (or a hundred other sources). Site like theirs need to get over themselves – the biggest news provider is Google, and unless you can shut them down, all of these sites are of minimal value. When I want to know something, 9 times out of 9 I start with a Google search. If I arrive at Forbes it’s because Google sent me there. It’s much easier to just add “-Forbes” to a Google search than to screw around with Forbes and what they want people to do to get money out of them.

I feel no sympathy for these companies so desperately trying to commercialize and monetize the internet. That isn’t what the internet was created for. It is supposed to be a public meeting space, not another cog in your profit machine – so if you don’t like it, screw you and your ads.

What further discusts me is when I see what they really want our experience to be like. If you dont know what I mean – think about using the internet on your smartphone, where there aren’t any adblockers (well maybe there are now, I’m about to make a check on that because a few months ago I couldn’t find any). These site are INSANE, it’s like the 1990’s before the tech bust all over again. You can’t read an article for all the freaking ads. I don’t think that is in line with what people want, and I’ll be damned if I don’t do something so I can browse in peace. If they want to make money, how about a new idea? SELL SOMETHING PEOPLE WANT – and stop with the unscrupulous and mostly dangerous ads, mostly with no accountability and no consideration of safety (and decency, as sometimes the ads are on the x-rated side).

SusannahK says:

The likes of Forbes can go whistle dixie as far as I’m concerned.

The minute I enter a site demanding I turn off an adblocker, I immediately leave, knowing full well sites like that contain absolutely nothing I can’t read or find elsewhere – and without the irritating ads and malicious malware/spyware, too.

And since when did the advertising industry decide they have the right to intrude upon our lives and harass us with rubbish? They can go whistle dixie, too – with a snorkel.

Sortinghat (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Move over phone fans! The think pad is the next big thing! You don’t need a computer OR a smartphone.

Just plug the think pad to your thoughts and feel the calming feeling as you choose what moods you want despite the fact you may not actually control the switch from a faraway server.

Imagine big corporate ads IN YOUR OWN MIND! The wonder of product X that you suddenly are given the feeling of needing and after you buy it you wonder what to do with it!

The power of the corporate dollar knows no limits no boundaries and will even invade your sleep!

Want to count sheep? Too bad those sheep have dollar signs on them!

Sortinghat says:

Corporations vs individuals

The war between big corporation and individuals have increased since they discovered facebook while a lot of us who knew how to operate computers used the web back to the early 90s in the BB days a lot of big corporations didn’t know jack about how to turn ON a computer.

Now the sons of these billionaires have taught them how to operate facebook and social media which is technically the *light weight* version of the web or a slice of the bread.

These corporations though only know that much so are busy controlling it for profit and are profiteering whatever means necessary both legal and illegal methods.

They will be *creative* at getting around laws and pay almost ZERO tax revenue while small individuals and businesses are getting spanked by big brother.

Get your survival equipment now and prepare to bug out. This election is America’s last stand against big business.

nick says:

Whenever people whinge along the lines of “how do you expect people to pay for their hosted content” I would say, stop posting such large quantities of garbage and your hosting bill will be much smaller and affordable. I remember when it used to be easy to find real content and real journalism on the internet. aka. the good old days, where incidentally there were very few ads and ad blockers had not been invented yet. People even paid for subscriptions back then, EVEN FOR PORN.

Prince Serendip (profile) says:

Advertising Online

Over ten years ago I had proof of the primary source of all viruses and lots of malware online. No one would listen. Now everyone has encountered malvertising. If you want to increase your total security for free just go to my website and check the Blog for an article titled “Addons Means AdsOff.” Gets rid of all ads. I am a published computer security author as well, and a former MVP (4 years). Is there anyway that I could send a message to the web sites that block people using adblockers, to inform them that they will be blocked and blacklisted as long as they are not paying me/us to show me/us their ads. It’s MY computer. If they want their ads on it, they can pay for it. Just an idea. Probably won’t catch on. Maybe users should start presenting web sites with EULAs so we can sue their sorry heinies when we get dirty by visiting their sites. 😀

Marcus (profile) says:

Why should I make my computer vulnerable for their site

I think it is ridiculous to ask someone to turn off their ad blocker in order to view a sites content. You are entrusting your system to the website author assuming that they have viewed these ads for malicious code. Even legitimate sites are vulnerable to scripting attacks that could infect the computers of anyone visiting their sites through drive-by-downloads. In addition, video animation chokes up a persons precious bandwidth and a lot of companies offer as slow of an internet speed as 1.5 Mbps and these customers have no better options. These ads make it take 10 minutes or longer for a webpage to load to the point that they can read it. If I get a message to disable my adblock, I leave the site. No information is important enough to render my system vulnerable to attack.

Chris (profile) says:

Adblock and Adblock Pro never go off.... Ever.

It’s ridiculous that they ask. When I first started using the internet 17 years ago or so there were some popup ads if you went to the wrong place, but they were NEVER like they are now. Like the writer above states, Adblock programs are a MUST. Using Google Chrome, and Windows’ 10 built-in Defender program, I haven’t had a virus, malware, or any other BS in 2 years. I still download the same things I always did, and look at the same things I always have, and I don’t have problems.

The rest of my family who are NOT very computer literate however, constantly have problems with malware and virus’s, and even the dreaded Ransomware. My mother on her work laptop has had ransomware take hold of her computer on TWO occasions in the last few months.

And the funniest part is the bank’s IT guy refuses to let her use Google Chrome and Adblock + Adblock Pro because supposedly the ancient microsoft Internet Explorer is “more secure” even though it’s the same browser that has repeatedly put their banks’ security at risk. That’s another thing, these so called professional IT guys just blow my mind with their ineptness, though I guess that’s a whole other conversation.

Sortinghat (profile) says:

Re: Adblock and Adblock Pro never go off.... Ever.

Those IT guys are likely SJW’s (social justice warriors* meaning they run on emotions not facts or logic. They will blame all outside problems before they look at themselves.

They are the ones that blamed big bad corporations in the Bush era and then did the same things when they got in power if not worse.

Sortinghat (profile) says:

The Deep State has won the game of capitalism. We are in the *shell* of it. The question should be is what’s next? The worlds wealth is owned by two families. We live in a digital duopoly where the *companies* are not really competing anymore they just stay off each other’s turf and share the data with the government like good ole boys.

We live in a weird twisted money scheme system. Capitalism was on it’s way out the door in the 1960s.

Anonymous Coward says:

Anyone with a computer should know that you do not visit the internet without Malware protection.

This is not an ad blocker but self protection for each person who comes to the internet.

Ad blocker has nothing to do with virus control or Malware control.

If you did not install protection for yourself in the first place YEARS AGO, then you are infecting your own computer system way before any of this ad stuff came about period.

The internet infected millions by just being on the internet
years ago way before anyone complained about ads that are on websites.

Heck, when I watch TV 50% of the 30 min sitcoms are advertisements that I did not ask for.

Anonymous Coward says:

Forbes is mainly propaganda and a blog for the mega elite honestly

My practice, as is many, is to just press the back button when greeted with a pop up asking us to allow pop ups

I’m sure Forbes monitors web page activty and sees a huge decrease in traffic as well as a lot of visits to that page asking us to disable and then nothing else. It’s now 2018 and these comments are from 2016, the shit is still going on so they obviously aren’t going to change any time soon

just keep pressing back, we got this

Anonymous Coward says:

Nail on the head. I first started using adblockers after a site I visit regularly suffered an infected-ad-served malware attack (it was a very respectable site that is not somewhere you’d expect to encounter malware – to be fair, that hasn’t happened on that particular site again since). Since then it’s happened on multiple other sites I visit, including another (much less well known) computer hardware review site that started serving porn pop-unders. Every time I turn adblock off, I encounter another such fiasco and it goes back on again.

The poster who thinks ‘anti-malware software’ would help against these things is being very foolish. It didn’t help people on the occasions I refer to, because the malware concerned was new and the antivirus software hadn’t picked it up yet (and bad ads are not necessarily even categorised as malware, e.g. the porn pop-ups weren’t but would still have been a big problem in many contexts). Besides, no anti-malware software is infallible.

The best strategy by far is to (a) avoid dodgy sites, and (b) block ads as they are the main vector by which ‘good’ sites turn bad. A script blocker has much the same effect but they tend to block too many other things.

Much of the time these days if a site asks me to turn off adblock, I just hit ‘back’ and go somewhere else. Many sites tend to hugely over-estimate how valuable or unique their content is to the casual visitor (much as owners of physical stores do, as it happens – if you are a non-specialty shopkeeper who treats all customers as shoplifters till proven otherwise, people are just going to walk out and go a few yards down the road – your store isn’t anything special).

I don’t mind ads in themselves, I understand they are necessary, but if site owners need advertising to make a living, then BE MUCH MORE CAREFUL ABOUT WHAT ADs YOU CARRY!

Ryan says:

Ad blocker

And I’ll continue to use ad blocker. There are plenty of other sites that don’t pull this bs and now they’re even going as far as to add an ad removal pass where they literally charge you per page without ads. Get real. This is absolutely ridiculous. Funny thing is I’ve had zero virus issues ever since I installed ad blocker which is going on about to years now and I won’t put my machine at risk because you want to dig into my pockets. Yeah…no. I’ll keep my ad blocker.

Prince Serendip (profile) says:

Use of Ad Blockers

I made a proof of concept about the fact that the majority of malware or virus infections are sourced from ads online ten years ago in a book on Rootkits. I found a way to block ALL ads from my computer. You don’t have to use an actual blocker, although they can be very effective. The means to do it is entirely free of costs. Google or use your favorite search engine to find these:
1.) Get the MVPs HOSTS file.
2.) Spybot Search and Destroy v. 1.6.2 (The old program, not the new one that includes an antivirus.)
3.) Spywareblaster v. 5.5

You can learn more by checking my profile here: https://www.techdirt.com/user/wakefield

These will eliminate ads from your computer. They are not detected as adblockers. Can you see that these outfits that ask you to disable your adblockers are actually urging you to not use protection while online? Idiots!

frustrated gamer says:

wowhead does this too, and worse part is its a total bandwidth hog. I run AdBlock Plus, still get massive lag because instart logic BS somehow bypasses it. Ridiculous that it takes 2 to 3 minutes just to load up a page, even if I simply look at quest info or ability info.

Sad part is Blizzard actually seems to endorse it despite the many complaints about intrusive ads.

Ozzy says:

As I’m reading this article, Forbes has turned off their ad-blocker restriction wall and I tried looking at one of their articles. AdBlock blocked 101 ADS!!!! Not only are ads garbage, or sometimes unsafe, but they slow down your computer to a crawl, especially those disgusting autoplay video ads!! No sir, I will not allow forbes to spew garbage in my computer!

Orion says:

Adblock is love , adblock is life

Never click on any ads , in any page , they’re full of malwares …

Btw my Adblock is telling me that he has blocked more than 950 000 ads , so would you imagine how many pop ups and shit i would have to deal with if i was not using abdblock ???

Abblock is installed on all my browers and i’ll never ever remove it and if you’re website doesn’t want me , it is not a big deal because i don’t need you 😉

Dumbass says:

Bullshit

Forbes also lies about everything. They claim the worlds ending when it’s not, that global warming is causing the earth to cool, that a large killer asteroid is going to hit the earth, that the earth is over flowing with human speices, that the earths oceans are flooding the land, and plenty of other off the wall BS. There website should be shut down. In fact all of the internet should be governed by someone who researches the facts and deletes every website that suggest a bunch of lies about things. The internet should only be a tool for learning the truth. There should be no made up bs on the internet at all. All spam and all lies of bull shit should be instantly deleted off the internet and also the website should be spammed where they cant post anything else at all online after being flagged one time.

Elliander Eldridge says:

The ad servicers need to be regulated

In my opinion, we need more government regulations, but not in regards to what can be advertised. I generally have 3 advertising concerns when it comes to ads these days:

1.) Safety. I have actually driven on roads where it was pitch black and then I come around a corner and there is a fully bright LED bill board that blinds me. I’ve also seen distracted animated signs during the day. No advertising should ever be permitted that endangers the general public, so limits should be placed on intensity of light and on the level of animation. As augmented reality becomes a thing this will be even more relevant. I for one don’t want a popup ad to literally kill me, which seems silly to say, but smart cars with smart windshields that have built in monitors are a thing now.

2.) Security. As this article clearly points out, online advertising is rife with Malware. Unfortunately, the ad servicing companies accept no responsibility for this problem and so they have no incentive to take any meaningful steps to secure their own network. A company should be held legally responsible for the damage their network causes, just as I would if I wrote a program that damaged their network even unintentionally.

3.) Aesthetic. The fact that ads on websites use animation and/or sound to grab your attention, and constantly change what is shown while you are trying to read is a BIG reason why I block ads on news sites in general (hint, hint) but it can also be argued to be a form of fraud. You see, running an ad like this means that the content is flashing in repetition regardless of if someone is physically at the computer to see the ads, so companies paying for advertising are being defrauded. Similarly, by annoying a customer, it creates a negative brand association. Companies spend big money on ads that people remember, with catchy sayings or mascots, because they want positive brand awareness. I find myself avoiding products from companies that annoyed me through advertising in the past, sometimes unconsciously, and sometimes deliberately. YouTube, for example, once showed me the same movie trailer a few hundred times over the course of a few weeks which directly resulted in me choosing not to see a movie I otherwise would have seen. These types of practices are very harmful to a company, who is paying for people to know about their products and services, not to be bombarded into hating them. Getting these types of practices under control is as much for the businesses as it is for the consumer.

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